The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York


Fellowship Opportunity for “Twentieth Century American Foundations” (new deadline 11/22)

The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at the CUNY Graduate Center is offering up to eight $1,250 fellowships for participants in a History course for Spring 2022 entitled “Twentieth Century American Foundations.”

An excellent opportunity for all students interested in foundations and public and institutional history,  this course is being developed in collaboration with the Rockefeller Archive Center [RAC] in Pocantico Hills, New York, one of the country’s major historical archives for U.S. grantmaking institutions and philanthropy.

RAC houses the historical records of the Rockefeller, Ford, Russell Sage, Henry Luce, William and Flora Hewlett, Near East and Markle Foundations, and the Commonwealth and Rockefeller Brothers Funds (among many other materials). These materials cover a broad swath  of U.S. and global history, from women’s, minority, and other social justice campaigns, to the  colonial devolution; scientific, agricultural, and social science research; public health and the arts and humanities in the United States and around the world. Many of these collections have not previously been used, offering an important opportunity for original research.

Information about the Archive Center’s holdings, including finding aids available at Candidates are strongly advised to consult the Archive Center’s online finding aids and contact their reference staff to ensure that the available manuscript collections are sufficiently   rich for the topic they plan to study.


The course

The course is designed to teach students to do historically-based program reviews that foundations can use for internal decision making, while learning about foundation operations, historical consulting and writing for different audiences. The papers may also be suitable for scholarly publications and presentations afterwards, and students will be eligible to apply for a limited number of additional grants to work with RAC staff to disseminate their research findings through the Archive Center’s digital publishing and/or related projects.

The course is being offered in the History Department. It will include scholarly and archival readings (keyed to the students’ topics), discussions about the research, and presentations by foundation practitioners to provide insights into how the big foundations work and the rationales behind their programs. Description here



The fellowship is designed to cover related research costs, including travel to Pocantico Hills (although many of the archival materials will be available online).




Both doctoral and M.A. students are eligible to apply. Candidates should submit a one-page description of their research topic and how it relates to their more general research interests.

In addition to the one-page project description, applicants should include a cover sheet with their name, discipline, whether they are in a doctoral or master’s program, their level within these programs, any relevant nonprofit, foundation or public history experience they may have had, and a brief description of why they are interested in the fellowship in terms of their own career goals.


Submission of an additional writing sample is optional, but strongly encouraged.


Proposals and questions should be sent via email to the Associate Director of the Center on Philanthropy    and Civil Society, Barbara Leopold, at  Submissions should be sent as a single .PDF file with materials arranged as follows: (1) cover sheet, (2) project description, (3) writing sample or other documentation (if any).


The application deadline has been extended to November 22nd.